Laboratory exploration of heat transfer regimes in rapidly rotating turbulent convection

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Abstract

We report heat transfer and temperature prole measurements in laboratory experiments of rapidly rotating convection in water under intense thermal forcing (Rayleigh number Ra as high as ~1013) and unprecedentedly strong rotational in
uence (Ekman numbers E as low as 10-8). Measurements of the mid-height vertical temperature gradient connect quantitatively to predictions from numerical models of asymptotically rapidly rotating convection, separating various flow
phenomenologies. Past the limit of validity of the asymptotically-reduced models, we find novel behaviors in a regime we refer to as rotationally-influenced turbulence, where rotation is important but not as dominant as in the known geostrophic turbulence regime. The temperature gradients collapse to a Rayleigh-number scaling as Ra-0.2 in this new regime. It is bounded from above
by a critical convective Rossby number Ro* = 0.06 independent of domain aspect ratio Γ, clearly distinguishing it from well-studied rotation-affected convection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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